Ursodeoxycholic acid and bezafibrate were useful for steroid
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Immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown clinically significant antitumor efficacy and have been approved for the treatment of various kinds of advanced malignancies. On the other hand, these immunotherapies show unique adverse events, termed “immune-related adverse events,” which are distinctly associated with conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. Hepatotoxicity is recognized as an immune-related adverse event; prompt treatment with corticosteroids is recommended. However, some cases are refractory to steroids. Researchers report the first case of steroid-refractory immune-related hepatitis that was successfully treated with ursodeoxycholic acid and bezafibrate.

A 68-year-old Asian man, came to hospital for the treatment of malignant melanoma involving the gingiva and presenting with multiple lymph node and bone metastases was administered nivolumab as a first-line treatment. Two months into treatment, the patient developed diarrhea as a result of immune-related colitis; the colitis was treated successfully with prednisolone 60 mg/ day, resulting in improvement in the patient’s symptoms. However, when steroids were being tapered, acute elevation of liver enzymes was observed. Autoimmune hepatitis was suspected as an immune-related adverse event, and treatment with intravenous prednisolone 60 mg/ day was reinitiated.

However, restoration of the steroid treatment failed to improve the patient’s liver enzymes. On the basis of histological findings from liver biopsy and exclusion of other etiologies such as viral infection and other drug-induced hepatitis, steroid-refractory hepatic immune-related adverse event was deemed the most likely cause of the patient’s acute hepatitis. In general, mycophenolate mofetil or tacrolimus is known to provide benefits in cases of steroid-refractory hepatitis. It was therefore decided to add oral ursodeoxycholic acid and bezafibrate in consideration of the patient’s background of repeated aspiration pneumonia. Administration of this regimen resulted in an improvement in liver function, which remained normal even after tapering of prednisolone.

Conclusively, Ursodeoxycholic acid and bezafibrate may be useful for treatment of steroid-refractory immune-related adverse event hepatitis.

Source: https://jmedicalcasereports.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13256-020-02541-3